Mon – Tue: 8am onwards
Wed – Sat: 8am – late
Sun: 9am onwards
Coffee: Di Bellas Coffee
“Melbourne has always been marketed for its alleyways and hidden places. Being a Melbournian, I am always dazzled when I stumble upon a new restaurant or cafe that’s located somewhere odd when taking a short cut to my destination. Last Saturday morning we decided to venture down to Market Lane Coffee, to try another blend of coffee and read the modern dilemma in the Good Weekend in The Saturday Age. I had started to smell brunch flavours and low and behold, we had stumbled upon 2010 Good Food Guide One Hat Restaurant, ICE.
This little restaurant is hidden well away from the bustle of Chapel Street and has a very subtle exterior that doesn’t suggest a ‘try hard’ cafe. Inside ICE there is a very attractive and chic decor, with a black and silver theme that has a very attractive light feature over the barista station. Now I must not get too distracted by decor because, while I enjoy creative interior designs, the food must also be fantastic.
The coffee they sourced was the house blend of Di Bella Coffee. My coffee was ordered and served in next to no time and I was surprised at the portion. Usually a long black is served in a slim bottom and wide top cup, as this allows enough hot water to smell and taste the flavours without dilution. A large cup is great if you are after a decent coffee hit. The coffee I had at ICE was enjoyable but plain. There was no definitive fragrance, nor was the taste amazing to temp you into having more.
It was food ordering time. The brunch menu was moderately sized with the usual suspects, but it offered some very interesting combination of ingredients. For example, there was the ICE age corn fritter w/ Trout [$13] and their French Toast w/ citrus ricotta, candy zest, summer berries [$13]. I was in need of something starchy, and decided on the ICE age Corn fritters, avocado, roast tomato, spinach, chutney, bacon [$13] with an additional egg (everybody loves an egg) [$4].
The corn fritter stack was plated well, giving an alluring invitation to dig in. Having previously eaten a few corn fritters where the corn was usually smashed, I was surprise that this was not the case here. The corn was very prominent and in its natural form, allowing for the fresh flavour to burst in your mouth which was quite enjoyable. The relish had married well with the fritter as it was spicy but fresh. The corn fritters were a little thin to my liking but with that said, this dish may have been simplistic but it sure did pack a lot of flavours. I had quite enjoyed the fritters with my poached egg and it did fill my belly.
ICE doesn’t try to be too pretentious. It’s a cafe that provides simple dishes that are full of flavour. It’s not in the same league as Auction Rooms or St Ali, however, there was certainly creativity in their dishes which may surprise people how certain ingredients go together. For this reason you should definitely dine at this cafe for brunch. I do want another revisit, but their dishes didn’t amaze me that much that I would want to go back in the immediate weeks.”
“On Saturday we were making our way to Market Lane Coffee (for a second time, as we were just so impressed with it after our initial blog), when we passed a little cafe tucked away in Cato Street, around the corner from Prahran Market. This “little cafe” happened to be a one hat restaurant as dubbed by The Age, Good Food Guide 2010. We got extremely excited by our find and immediately decided that our next brunch was to be here.
When we arrived the next day we were immediately greeted by a beautiful, classy interior. I’m a big fan of places with decorative lights and wooden interiors, so I felt right at home here. We were seated and ordered our coffees, noticing that the blend was Di Bellas; immediately taking me back to my experiences at the roasters very own Coffee Roasting Warehouse. Within minutes of ordering, our coffees arrived and we ordered our food. I’d decided on the Chilli coriander scrambled eggs, roti, charred bacon [$16].
The menu was very mixed here, and I couldn’t quite work it out. There was some Indian influences to some things on their menu (roti, naan bread), Vietnamese influences (chilli – coriander, viet salad), Morracon (tagine) and even Middle Eastern, all blended in with very modern – Australian dishes.
Breakfast was served extremely fast – within 10 minutes it had been whipped out of the kitchen! There seemed to be minimal effort made on presentation here, but for a one hat restaurant all you care about is flavour, right?
The eggs were tasty when you were able to grab a little bit of each ingredient – but by themselves, while smooth, were nothing special. The bacon was nice, but the quality of meat used was poor. There was a fair bit of fat that came with it, nestled not just around the edges, but between the pieces of meat that made up the rashes. The roti was nice, but nothing compared to Tom Phat. The chefs had managed to burn it a little on the grill, which is fine for that ‘charred’ effect, but not really my cup of tea.
I sampled Mr LBs corn fritters and had to say I was impressed – fresh pieces of corn immediately burst in my mouth, combined with a sweet and sour chilli sauce. I felt a little jibbed with my dish after experiencing his.
I wasn’t overly impressed with ICE, but maybe that’s because I’d had high expectations for it given its Good Food Guide reference. We were provided with magnificent service, a fantastic place to relax (despite a little bit of noise) and an enjoyable meal.”
Final thought: “For a simple brunch that’s packed with flavour”